Archive for October, 2011

26th October
2011
written by amber

At the Airport

The little boy in front of me in the airport line-up was staring at my chest, eyes wide, mouth gaping.

“Harold! Stop staring!” his mother said sharply.

“But Mom, her boobs are-”

“Harold!” She slapped a hand across his mouth and apologized to me, looking at my face, pointedly not at my breasts. If she hadn’t been so restrained, she would have seen that Harold had a point – my breasts were writhing.

Amal had promised me that the sedative wouldn’t wear off until I was through customs and safely in the car with my contact. He’d told me to act natural.

But how can a girl act natural with 17 baby mambas doing the mamba in her bra?

“Baby mambas aren’t as poisonous,” Amal had told me. But already the skin of my breasts was prickling as if being pierced by 17 tiny serpentine mouths. Was the poison from 17 infant snakes as toxic as the deadly bite from one adult?

Amazingly, I was still alive when I finally reached the front of the cue, waiting behind the red line to see which agent would beckon me forward. Would I stand a better chance with the woman who might not be inclined to look at my breasts or with the male agent who might appreciate the double D required to smuggle the snakes but resist sexist behaviour and look away before noticing their unnatural movement?

The irony behind my predicament? I’d agreed to perform this illegal act to raise the money to pay for breast augmentation surgery.

The Story 365 project is a year-long marathon of short story writing, with a new story written every day and posted on this website from May 1, 2011 – April 30, 2012. Stories must be a minimum of 200 words. Please help me by adding first line suggestions in the Comment section.

25th October
2011
written by amber

Twyla

Jason let the flimsy message slip from his fingers, fluttering in the gentle, centrifugal pseudo-gravity of the station apartment. It soon was sucked against the air-return screen, sharply-etched black letters visible through the thin rice paper, the anger of the message like an unpleasant smell in the room.

The other guys who worked with him on the loading dock had warned him not to get into a relationship with Twyla. “Man, your stint’s only six months, don’t start dating a lifer. They’re all weird and Twyla’s the weirdest. Fool around with another half-year grunt, or go to the Relief Centre. Just stay away from Twyla.”

Jason had figured they were jealous. Twyla was beautiful, she had a light in her eyes like the fire of an exploding star. She was mysterious, she knew things about Nebula Station no one else knew; being with her was exciting and fun. Until it wasn’t.

The change occurred in the Tethered Pod, an escape vehicle that doubled as a gravity-free experimental lab moored by a long umbilical to the station. Twyla was the lead scientist on the research done there but no matter how many secrets she’d told him during their weeks together and how many times he’d asked, she had never spoken of her work.

When she invited him to join her in the Tethered Pod, he’d assumed the goal was sexual acrobatics in null-gravity, but she surprised him.

“You asked about my research,” she said, as soon as the hatch was secure. “But if I told you about the things I’m doing for the Inter-Stellar Outreach, you’d find it really boring. What’s fascinating is my personal research into other modes of being. Jason, I think you’re a very special guy and that’s why I feel I can share this with you. I’ve spent long hours out here, alone and in a mental state made receptive by repetitive mindless data collection. That’s when they came to me.”

“They?”

“The Others. I don’t know if they’re from another dimension or another time, if they’re ghosts or aliens or gods. They could be all or none of the above. I don’t know what they are, I just know what they want.”

“What do they want?” Jason wasn’t liking the light in her eyes. It was a crazy light, like the fire of an exploding star that he’d allowed himself too near to.

“To commune with them. They’ve asked many things of me over the years. Some of the things have seemed really dangerous, but I’ve always agreed and I’ve never come to any harm. Tonight they have requested that the two of us go through the airlock with no protection whatsoever. We’ll step into the vacuum, trusting to the Others to protect us. We’ll be together with each other as never before, and you’ll become one with the Others.”

She tugged him toward the airlock but Jason tore himself from her grasp and ran for the umbilical.

The angry note he received from her the next day castigated him for his cowardice and warned him not to tell anyone about her secret relationship with the Others. She needn’t have worried. He saw her from the port in the station after he’d hurtled along the umbilical. She had been pushing herself away from the Pod’s airlock, her long hair streaming out into the void, as naked as the day she was born.

The Story 365 project is a year-long marathon of short story writing, with a new story written every day and posted on this website from May 1, 2011 – April 30, 2012. Stories must be a minimum of 200 words. Please help me by adding first line suggestions in the Comment section.

This story was inspired by a first line of a David Brin story in his anthology, Otherness.

24th October
2011
written by amber

Ancestors

I got an email from my aunt the other day. She’s been dead for 14 years, but she still keeps in touch. And she still uses the old technology, because that’s what was in vogue when she passed away. She sends messages all the time, commenting on current events, criticising my web photos, giving old-fashioned advice.

My parents are a lot more sensitive; they contact me only at Christmas and my birthday. I mean, just because I’m paying to keep them in stasis doesn’t mean I want a close relationship.

At first, the sting of bereavement was tempered by the knowledge that their awareness would survive. To think that as recently as 2019, families had to keep the actual body of their loved ones on life support to keep a flicker of brain activity going, and now – since 2025 – all we have to do is digitize the nearly deceased to salvage a relationship.

No, it’s not the same relationship as when they were fully living, but the emotional connection is not severed. Lots of studies have been done about the level of consciousness the Ancestors retain, but nothing has been conclusive. My parents seem a little distant, but they were that way when they were alive. My aunt stays in touch with what’s going on, but she displays a curious rigidity to change.

Or maybe not that curious. She’s dead, after all.

The Story 365 project is a year-long marathon of short story writing, with a new story written every day and posted on this website from May 1, 2011 – April 30, 2012. Stories must be a minimum of 200 words. Please help me by adding first line suggestions in the Comment section.

 

 

24th October
2011
written by amber

I will be appearing at the “Pure Speculation Convention” in Edmonton, Sunday November 20, at 3:00 PM. I’ll read from Stolen Children, as well as talk about the writing process and my current Story 365 project.
The Convention is located at Grant MacEwan Robbins Health Centre – 11050 – 104 Ave, Edmonton.  My reading will be in the Gamma Room.
PURE SPECULATION 2011 – November 18-20 at the Grant MacEwan Robbins Health Centre, Edmonton. purespec.org

23rd October
2011
written by amber

On the Roof

As I was sliding off the roof, the entire ridiculous sequence of events which brought me to this unhappy brink passed through my mind.

If I hadn’t tried to revitalize my marriage by taking the pole dancing course, I would never have gone on the class outing to the Black Kitty Stripper Bar.

If I hadn’t gone to the Black Kitty Stripper Bar, I would never have met Snake.

If I had never met Snake, I would never have divorced my husband.

If I hadn’t divorced my husband, I would never have received the $200,000 cash settlement for my share of the house.

If I hadn’t received the cash settlement, Snake would never have introduced me to the man who needed a cash infusion for his plan for an animal refuge/theme park for retired movie animals.

If I hadn’t invested all my money into Movie Mascot Magicland, I would never have lost all my money, as well as the extra $100,000 I borrowed so that Snake and I would own 25% of the project.

If I hadn’t borrowed the extra $100,000, I wouldn’t have been threatened by Mr. Bing and his goons.

If I hadn’t been threatened by Mr. Bing and his goons, I would never have agreed to Snake’s plan to break into my former neighbour’s house and steal their collection of valuable Canadian paintings by the Group of Seven.

If my neighbour’s key had still been kept under the planter near the back door, I would never had needed to go up on the roof and try to break in through the upstairs bathroom skylight.

If I hadn’t gone up on the roof, I would never have gone near the air conditioning unit up there.

If I’d stayed further away from the air conditioning unit on the roof, I would never have disturbed the nest of baby owls.

If I hadn’t disturbed the nest of baby owls, the mother wouldn’t have attacked me.

If I hadn’t been attacked by a furious mother owl, I wouldn’t be sliding off the roof right now.

The Story 365 project is a year-long marathon of short story writing, with a new story written every day and posted on this website from May 1, 2011 – April 30, 2012. Stories must be a minimum of 200 words. Please help me by adding first line suggestions in the Comment section.

Thank you to my cousin, Hilary Shannon, for suggesting this first line.

 

 

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